Though we have been living winters in Manzanillo for many years now, there have been few opportunities for us to head out on the ocean and spend the day deep sea fishing for one of those famous Sailfish. They don’t call Manzanillo the ‘Sailfish Capital of the World’ for nothing. There have been many conversations over dinners, particularly among the men, about booking a local fishing boat and crew. Last year, my husband and family, who were visiting from Canada, did arrange a day of fishing but weren’t successful that time. I was battling a bout of the flu so stayed behind and of course, had no story to relate. But this year, I jumped on board with the ‘boys’ and have a wonderful experience to share.
A good friend and neighbor, Marco, who visits seaside regularly from Guadalajara, arranged a day with a local crew out of the Manzanillo marina in El Centro. This was such a blessing for us since our Spanish is less than good and our friend has been coming to Manzanillo with his family since he was a young boy.
He relates many interesting stories about the changes in this fair port and of course he knows many local people. This includes Captain Fabián Michel who runs fishing charters with his boat, the LORI V. So, a date is booked, the weather holds, and we are off to the marina early in the morning with a cooler of beer, drinks and huge anticipation.
The russet tones of the sunrise and the glassy waters of the marina greet us as we chug down the pier with our gear and watch LORI V docking and ready for the day. Fabián and Ramón welcome us aboard and we settle in for the trip. Manzanillo is so spectacularly beautiful, nestled in the hills behind us, as we make our way out to open sea. We are heading out about 40-50 kilometers. This will take an hour or more and the sea begins to roll and chop at our boat. But we’re comfortable and enjoying the sea air and the company. Fabián and Ramón have baited 6 lines with small fish and ‘leads’ that look like small, colorful squid.
As we continued on our way, we were suddenly surrounded by the most playful school of dolphins swimming along with the boat and jumping through the air. I went topside to get a better perspective and there they were, racing ahead of us a few feet under the water. I hadn’t expected this delightful greeting and wished I’d had a camera ready. On second thought, they move much too quickly for an unskilled photographer such as I. Along the way, our friend Marco reeled in a couple of small fish that we kept for our lunch. I can still smell the chopped onion, lime juice and herbs that Ramón chopped and prepared for our ceviche on tostadas. After the ceviche ‘stewed’ for an hour or so, we all snacked on this extremely fresh dish. It was ‘excelente y delicioso’.
Suddenly, there is a strike on one of the lines and a beautiful Sailfish shoots into the air. Marco takes the chair and works for quite some time, slowly pulling and reeling him in. Once at the boat, the Sailfish appeared to be about 35-40 kilos and it was decided to release him. The next strike hit a while later on one of the other lines and my husband, Allan, grabbed the chair for his turn with the rod
As the fish jumped and sailed through the air, we saw a beautiful blue striped Marlin. It was decided to keep this 35-kilo catch to share with the crew and prepare for dinner that day
and definitely more dinners to come. It was a very exciting day for my husband and one he’ll never forget. We have dock side photos for this trophy fish and of course Allan now has the bragging rights to his very own deep sea fishing story.
By mid-afternoon, we made our way back to the marina where the Marlin was displayed and eventually filleted for all to share.
Later that evening we tasted and enjoyed this beautiful fish meat. It was prepared on the grill with great culinary skill by another of Marco’s local friends at Marildos Restaurante on La Boquita beach in Santiago Bay. It had been a memorable day with great friends, great fishing and a fabulous crew aboard the LORI V.
Some of our readers may be interested in sailfishing when they visit Manzanillo. Though we were fishing off season, our local and well-seasoned crew gave us a very successful experience nonetheless. Here follows a quote from the following website: http://www.visitmexico.com/en/fishing-in-manzanillo.
“The waters just off the coast of Manzanillo are teeming with marine life and sailfish and marlin are plentiful year-round, though you’ll have the best chance of catching sailfish if you arrive during the sailfish season that runs from November to March. Each year in November, Manzanillo hosts the International Sailfish Competition attracting sport fishermen from around the world.”
Captain Fabián Michel (who speaks English) and books fishing charters on the LORI V from the marina in El Centro can be reached by telephone at (314) 332-1792 and/or cellular at 044-314-353-2160. (You may wish to review the Señior Tech article in this issue for clarification on making calls within and outside Mexico).
Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.